Who's great?

Billy Graham and John Paul II
Billy Graham and John Paul II are indisputably great men. However much of what they accomplished should be attributed to their own actions and however much is due to other factors, these two must be considered significant actors in 20th-century history. For Billy Graham in 1957 to invite participation at his New York City evangelistic campaign from representatives of all willing churches—thereby opening up a wide array of ecumenical possibilities for former fundamentalists, new-style evangelicals and many mainline Protestants—was indisputably an important action. But even that significant action will probably receive less attention in the history books than John Paul II’s trip to Poland in June 1979, when millions of his compatriots ignored official disapproval to attend masses and other Catholic services—and so accelerated, or maybe sparked, the shaking that eventually brought down state-communism in Eastern Europe.

 

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